Our Family

Our Family

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hatching Chicks

Or maybe I should say not hatching chicks.  Last year was our first attempt at hatching chicks using an incubator and it went pretty well.  Out of 12 eggs we ended up hatching 5 chicks that all grew into adult hood.  This year we put 14 eggs in the incubator hoping to get 6-7 to hatch.  Well, it was a mess from the start.  Once the incubator got accidentally unplugged (but that was for less than an hour.)  Then our power went out for 6 hours during a thunder storm.  I had a really hard time keeping the humidity in the range it needed to be and we had a few other days where the incubator temperature was getting too high.  We ended up having 3 rotten eggs that we luckily tossed out before they exploded. leaving 11 eggs in the incubator.

I wasn't holding out much hope.  Late in the afternoon on day 21 we started hearing some peeping and one of the eggs started moving.  By that night another one of the eggs started moving.  Late in the afternoon on day 22 the second egg finally hatched, but the first egg never did.  We left them in the incubator for another 48 hours just to be sure but we ended up with only that one chick.

I was afraid she wouldn't survive on her own, so we ran out to Atwoods after we were at Grandview the other day and picked up 6 chicks.  They are straight run so we do not know if they are hens or roosters.  The boys picked 3 out of the assorted bantams and 3 of the heavies.  All of the chicks seem to be healthy and doing well.  We added our chick to the box yesterday and she is looking good.  The boys named the chicks Captain Jack, Will, Fred, George, Phil, (and I can't remember the last one) and the girls named our chick Rapunzel.

the girls were guarding the chicks while we got the box set up








Rapunzel is the light yellow chick


I do not know if I am going to attempt another hatch this year or not.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April Grandview Program

We are continuing on with our Animal Classification series out at Grandview.  So far we have covered Arkansas Mammals and Arkansas Amphibians.  Today's program was on Arkansas Reptiles.



The children learned many things about reptiles such as: what makes a reptile a reptile, the main types of reptiles in Arkansas, what reptiles eat, where they are found, how they get around, how they breathe, how they reproduce, and many more reptile facts.

After that they got to meet Slinky, the speckled king snake.








Our hands on activity was to decorate a snake.  The children each got a snake book so they could choose a snake to do, or just make their own.  My girls made rainbow colored snakes, Christian made his blue, and Anthony did a Western Worm Snake.


We are working on lapbooks to coordinate with each of the animal classification programs we go to.  We usually complete these right after we get home from Grandview and eat lunch, but today I had some errands that needed to be run and did not get home until late afternoon and had to leave again an hour after getting home.  So, we will work on these tomorrow afternoon and I will post a picture of the completed folder for reptiles tomorrow.

Edited to Add:

We did get our lapbook done on Thursday.  Here are some pictures of Lily's.





We had a great time at the reptile program at Grandview!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 31

I cannot believe our homeschool year is winding down.  It seems like it has only just started!  Though we do some school all year round, our summer schedule and curricula is different from our regular school year.  In the summer we will focus on review products and some fun hands on activities.  We only have about 4 weeks left in our regular school year, but we will still have plenty to do.

Monday was our required yearly testing.  As part of the Arkansas Homeschool Law, children in grades 3-9 have to take the Math and Reading portions of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.  For our house that meant that Nick and Alex had to test.  The test itself is less than 2 hours, but we had to drive 20 minutes each way plus be there early to set up and stay to put everything away.  I grabbed the kids pizza for lunch and by the time we made it back home it was 12:30 and I declared school completed for the day.

This week in history we learned about the 50's.  We also started a new read aloud, Homer Price by Robert McCloskey.  It is a really fun read aloud and has some great illustrations.  We finished the chapter about dinosaurs in our Apologia Land Animals book for science.  We are awaiting our new bible curriculum to arrive from Apologia and during Bible time have been working on Philippians in 28 Weeks.  

Christian, Anthony and I have been enjoying working through Logic of English Essentials every day.  They have been reviewing phonograms, learning spelling rules, and what nouns and adjectives are.  Lily is completing one page per day in Spelling You See.  The three of us started Heroes and Heroines of the Past this week and learned about Native Americans and the Vikings.  We even got to make Viking ships out of homemade playdough.

Nick has completely finished Math U See Zeta.  The other boys have a few weeks left  to go in their books.
We created slab sculptures using our Artistic Pursuits Sculpture Technique Model book this week.  They should be ready to paint today or tomorrow.  We also had fun at our Art Co-op learning about Monet and creating two pieces of Art.

Lily and Emmie read The Carrot Seed this week from Before Five In A Row.  To go along with that book we learned about different types of seeds and decided to plant some.



The children want to raise rabbits this year.  So the other day they built a rabbit hutch.






They did a really good job!  I was proud of them for getting it finished all by themselves.

Chelsea has finished all of her Math U See Stewardship and all of his Physical Science text.  She has a few labs left to complete.  That leaves her a few weeks left of Economics, Bible, and Poetry.  She is still working on learning German and Russian on Mango Homeschool, but she can continue to work on that until our subscription ends next January. Only one month left until graduation!

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Curiosity Quest

Curiosity Quest Review


We are always on the lookout for interesting, educational DVDs for the children to watch.  We were very excited when the opportunity to review the DVD Combo Pack-Produce and the DVD Combo Pack-Swimmers of the Sea from Curiosity Quest.  In each Curiosity Quest episode, host Joel Greene goes on a quest to different locations to answer a viewer's letter about a topic they are curious about.


Curiosity Quest Review
The DVD Combo Pack-Swimmers of the Sea ($24.95) contains 3 different episodes each lasting approximately 30 minutes.  On this DVD you will find:

Turtle Rescue-Joel Greene host of Curiosity Quest visits the Sea Turtle Hospital in Marathon Florida.  Here we learn about how some sea turtles are injured and how the hospital cares for them, helps them to heal and hopefully gets to return them back to their natural habitat.

Penguins-In this episode Joel takes a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to learn about penguins.  We get to go behind the scenes at the aquarium to see how they feed and care for the penguins who live there.

Salmon Hatchery- Joel Greene and the Curiosity Quest team visits Alaska so we can learn everything we have ever wanted to know and more about salmon such as what they eat, how they spawn, and how they are caught.


Curiosity Quest Review
The DVD Combo Pack-Produce ($24.95) contains 3 different episodes each lasting around 30 minutes each.  On this DVD you will find:

Mushrooms- Joel travels to the Monterey Mushroom facility to discover all about mushrooms: how they are grown and shipped around the world.

Cranberries- Joel travels to Wisconsin to a cranberry bog to see how cranberries are harvested.

Orange Packing- On this quest Joel learns how oranges are grown, packaged, and shipped all over the world.

The Curiosity Quest DVDs are geared for ages 7-14 but can be watched and enjoyed by the whole family.  I watched the DVDs with my 3,5,7,9,10, 12, and 17 year olds.  The Curiosity Quest DVDs arrived at a perfect time for us because we all had been struck with head colds and fevers and did not feel much like doing school work.  The Curiosity Quest DVDs were a perfect fill in for science for a few days until we all were feeling better.

I had never hear of Curiosity Quest before they came up for review.  We really enjoyed these DVDs! Children are curious creatures and each episode of Curiosity Quest answers all the questions children have about a topic and more.  Viewers are taken behind the scenes of each location to see and learn about things you couldn't even if you were able to visit that location yourself.  The format of the DVDs are interesting and engaging.  I thought the parts where they ask kids different questions and there answers were really cute.  The fun facts in each DVD were interesting.  The 30 minute length is the perfect amount of time to keep the younger viewers interested and engaged.  During the time that we have had the DVDs, we have watched them multiple times.  Our favorite was the DVD Combo Pack-Swimmers of the Sea with the Sea Turtle Rescue being our favorite episode.

There are many different ways you can use these DVDs in your homeschool.  You can use them just as a fun educational DVD to pop in when you are looking for something good for your children to watch or as a fill in like I did when the children are under the weather.  You could use them as a compliment to your current curriculum.  Or, you could take each episode and turn them into a unit study.

One thing I did want to mention is that there is some evolutionary references near the end of the Sea Turtle Rescue DVD.  My children know not to pay attention to these types of references but wanted to let you know.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Art Co-op

I am not very talented artistically.  My children can draw much better than I can.  I had an art teacher in elementary school that was not very nice and caused me for years to not like art at all.  But, I do think art is important and when I started homeschooling, tried to include art often in our homeschool.  Teaching children about art and artists is easy to do and can be done very inexpensively.  There is a ton of art books, curricula, and art project ideas available inexpensively or for free.

We were blessed to have an opportunity for quite awhile to take a homeschool art class, but that stopped a few months ago. Since then, my children and the children that were in the class have been asking over and over again when we could do art again, so I decided to teach an art co-op a couple of times before the end of this school year.

Today was our first Art Co-op and I chose Claude Monet for our artist.  I picked out two projects that I thought would take around 30 minutes each to complete.  I asked the parents to bring crayons, scissors, glue sticks, and water color paints for the child and I bought the tissue paper and cardstock.  We all pitched in $2 per child to pay for the supplies I bought for this class and the next.  We had 11 children participate today ages 3-9.


I started the class reading a short biography of Monet to the children and showed some examples of his work.  Then we began working on our first project.

The first project was a watercolor resist project based on Monet's The Water Lily Pond.  The children drew the bridge, lily pads, and flowers in crayon and colored them in.  Then they painted over the top of them with water color paints.  The water color paints will not paint over the crayon areas and gives a really nice effect.





The second project was based on Monet's Water Lilies-Morning.  It was an art project using tissue paper to make a layered lilies effect.  I found this project in an Usborne Art Treasury book. First the children tore strips of green, blue, and lilac tissue paper and glued them to their paper to create their pond.  Then they cut circles out of green tissue paper and cut a v shape in them to make lily pads and glued them over top of the water.  Next they crumpled up tissue paper to make flowers and glued those onto the lily pads.  They turned out really cute!





Everyone had fun at our first Art Co-op and we are looking forward to doing it again in two weeks!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rocket/RC Club

A few years ago, 4 H tried to do a Rocket Workshop.  The day of the workshop, there was a terrible storm.  It got rescheduled, but by then we were under a burn ban and could not set the rockets off.  The next year we were under a burn ban when the workshop was scheduled.  They did not schedule one the next year.

The boys were interested in rockets so we bought one from Hobby Lobby and put it together and got to launch it a few times.  But, it was a bigger rocket and without a good place to store it got broken.  A homeschool family (and one of our dearest friends) has a big interest in rockets and builds several different kinds of them and decided to start a Rocket/RC Club.  They had a few meetings in the fall and had to stop because of weather and now that it is getting warmer they are getting started back up again.  On Monday we got to go to our first meeting.

While the rockets were getting set up, the children got to drive around some remote control vehicles.






Each of the boys then got to launch a rocket.  Their favorite part I think was running after it to retrieve it after it was launched.






The girls kept quite busy while we were launching rockets.



We bought some small rockets for the boys to build.  Hopefully we will get them finished before next time and they can launch their own rockets.